Gov’s Business Plan Contest open online to vets, other entrepreneurs through Jan. 31

At a time when more military veterans are expressing interest in becoming entrepreneurs, the 20th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2023 competition through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Over a dozen veterans have made it to the finalist rounds of the Governor’s Business Plan Contest in recent years, including a category winner in the 2016 competition: Nick Mastronardi, a former Air Force officer, won the Information Technology category with POLCO, a civic engagement platform in widespread use across the United States today.

A free webinar on how to prepare to enter the contest will be held Jan. 18.

The contest is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. It links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology, and Life Sciences.

The contest has led to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans. In 2022, finalists shared in $125,000 in cash and service prizes. Over time, contestants have also raised at least $300 million in angel capital, venture capital and venture debt. The contest’s lead sponsor is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.